Inside the new hospitality management campus at EHL Passugg
In Passugg, a group of journalists including this writer had the chance to look behind the scenes of the leading Swiss hospitality management school. Once a spa hotel, the main building on the EHL Passugg campus serves as practice grounds for the 350 students from 30 nationalities, the majority of whom are Swiss.
Apart from simulating a four-star hotel, the students also run five restaurants. There is an Asian restaurant, or "Da Fortunat" which serves local fare. "Campigiana" is a typical lobby bar, "The Essence" is classic French cuisine and "The Market" is a self-service food hall. Under the supervision of executive chefs, students are in charge of the kitchens and the service at the in-house eateries.
In a late-night study session, Ms. Tabea Rosenkranz practices her skills in making Crêpes Suzette. She will go on to enter SwissSkills, a competition for talented apprentices:
The school hotel offers 140 single and double rooms. And the new Bachelor Village contains 20 additional housing units.
About affective hospitality in the hotel industry
With its long tradition and five-star reputation, you would think that Swiss hospitality management is set for a successful future. But while excellent service, culinary arts or stewarding will continue to be instructed, Switzerland’s hospitality schools are thinking into the future.
EHL has made it their mission to instruct a new generation of hospitality management students. During a presentation at the Passugg campus, EHL faculty explain that it is all about connecting to the individual guest on an emotional level. This is believed to create long-lasting bonds and memories which translate in repeat visits.
"The more our world turns digital, the more our guests will seek emotional experiences," explains Mr. Hartmann.
Affective hospitality is about teaching their students communication skills, emotional intelligence and a sixth sense. A savvy host will be able to anticipate and identify needs of their guests, even long before they do. In their capacity as “stage directors”, hosts would then push all the right buttons and offer a bespoke solution to their guest.
In hotels, affective hospitality translates to creating a surprise or a luxury experience. I still remember times when a host has surprised me. These were “wow” moments that formed a lasting, positive memory about the place and the time.
As I visit some of the world's top hotels, I often deliberate about my personal definition of luxury. For me, luxury is a moment where all my needs are met, where I can feel completely at ease, and where my mind allows for curiosity to enter. In this state of mind, there is no telling what the next experience will be - all options remain open. And a skilled host will read my mind and suggest ideas before they have entered my consciousness...
In this respect, affective hospitality is all about experiences. It is about delivering small and big surprises to guests and therefore creating positive emotions. In our instant world of social media, experiences are the new currency. We are innately eager to share these surprising moments and thus, I believe that affective hospitality is a conduit to creating brand awareness for hotels and restaurants.
Help! I got trapped in a class on insect food...
Students enjoy insights into all kinds of topics, from sustainable cooking to beer pairing and: insect food. Today happens to be their excursion into insect foods, and I find myself in the middle of it!
The class is presented by Melchior Füglistaller of Essento, a young Swiss start-up in insect foods. The company want to less than to create a revolution in eating habits by helping us overcoming our fears. With insects requiring a fraction of the water needed to grow meat (1 liter vs 15’000 liters per kilogram), it really is the logical next step for our western diets.
Worldwide, more than two billion people already eat insects on a daily basis, such as in Mexico, Zimbabwe or Thailand. But I still have a mental hurdle when it comes to chewing grasshoppers.
The recipes that the students are fixing today showcase the various ways of preparing insects. In some cases, whole insects are clearly distinguishable, thereby creating a sort of eating experience. And in others, the insects are used as ingredients such as meal worm flour.
About Dimitri Burkhard
As the founder, editor and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of the Swiss Travelwriters Club.
Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.